Saturday Night Live star Colin Quinn’s Broadway show, Long Story Short, keeps getting longer. The hilarious one-man show, essentially a commentary on the development of Western civilization (directed by Jerry Seinfeld), was recently extended for a second time. Now through March 5, you have the chance to hear this comedian’s take on the history of the world – and if you’re not offended by some foul language, we suggest you do. Quinn recently sat down with CBSNewYork and filled us in on his love for the Big Apple, what it’s like to work with Jerry Seinfeld and why he might be a future Jeopardy! contestant.
By Carly Petrone.
Watching Colin Quinn walk onto the Broadway stage to perform his hit one-man show Long Story Short, all I kept thinking was “what am I going to ask this seasoned comedian and actor?” Before I had the chance to come up with a single question, he boldly went into the history of human civilization in the satirical tone only Quinn can master. I was already hysterically laughing and he was only one minute into his act.
The most relatable part of his performance comes when he mentions how as Americans, we spend our days “reinventing life.” By that, he means we go to work only to return home and watch a TV show about being at work. We find ourselves saying, “Hey, I did that today!” As the audience clapped in agreement, I could only laugh as two hours earlier I was on the treadmill watching the Food Network, painfully waiting to get off so I could go home and make the pasta dish Paula Dean had just prepared. In a society so influenced by media and marketing, it’s easy to poke fun at our current state of civilization. Thankfully, Quinn realizes this and shares his take on humanity starting from the beginning of empires to the making of Snooki, the phenomena we all seem to know about.
Directed by Jerry Seinfeld, Long Story Short is the perfect play to take the history buff or pop culture enthusiast in your family. Watching it, you realize that the situational humor is what makes it so successful: People can relate to it – and that makes audiences happy.
The native New Yorker looking for something refreshing on Broadway will appreciate the performance at the Helen Hayes Theatre. With odes to New York’s rich and diverse culture, it’s sure to make those Yankee and Mets fans come together for one evening. Quinn’s impressions, endless range of accents, and use of interactive backdrops makes this one-man show a must-see.
I was able to pick Quinn’s brain one Thursday afternoon and ask about everything from his love for New York to how this energetic and lively city influenced his hit show. The approachable and quick-witted comedian had these things to share with CBSNewYork readers:
CBSNewYork: Can you tell me how New York influenced Long Story Short?
Colin Quinn: New York influenced the show because growing up here, it was very multi-racial and I was always interacting with other kinds of people. All the empires too seem to end up here. Everyone is from somewhere else. New York has historical significance. Everyone lives in today’s world but it feels like the ghost of everybody’s past seems to be here today.
CBSNewYork: Are there any similarities between doing SNL and Broadway?
CQ: Well, there’s the live aspect, of course. That’s about it.
CBSNewYork: What has it been like to work with fellow New Yorker and comedian Jerry Seinfeld?
CQ: It was really intensive close work together. Very interesting. Really got to see each other’s styles. I can almost imagine what it was like to work with Larry David and Jerry together on Seinfeld.
CBSNewYork: What is your favorite part of the show?
CQ: I love England and France. Their relationship. It’s the chick part of the show. The ‘rom-com.’
CBSNewYork: How did you come up with the idea for Long Story Short?
CQ: I wanted to do something about the world and history. It’s always interested me.
CBSNewYork: I noticed this isn’t your first one-man show on Broadway. Do you think doing Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake made it easier this time around?
CQ: It definitely helped me in many ways. Feels like so long ago. I never thought ‘I did this. I’ll fix it this time.’ I never thought in those terms. It was kind of interesting. Somewhere in there the muscle memory must have been there.
CBSNewYork: Do you ever get nervous before going on stage?
CQ: No, I get focused beforehand. Right before I go on.
CBSNewYork: Do you check out the audience first?
CQ: No, you can’t see past the first row anyway.
CBSNewYork: Do you have a nightly pre-show ritual?
CQ: No. Everyone says I should have one but I never thought about it that way. I watch Jeopardy. Drink J.
CBSNewYork: Are you any good at Jeopardy?
CQ: Not bad. Embarrassing when I get excited about answering the dumb ones right.
CBSNewYork: Would you ever go on Celebrity Jeopardy?
CBSNewYork: You do a lot of different accents throughout the show. Did you know you could do so many voices or did they just come out as you went along?
CQ: I was never really a big voice guy. I always thought I could do them but they were never part of my acts before. Sort of just one of those things.
CBSNewYork: Have you had to update or change anything about your show since it’s been extended until March 5th?
CQ: Only the slightest parts.
CBSNewYork: If you go on the road with the show would you alter it to fit that city’s lifestyle?
CQ: I don’t know but I assure you there would have to be changes. Won’t really know until I get there. I’ll realize, ‘That’s not going to work.’
CBSNewYork: What’s your favorite thing to do in New York City?
CQ: Favorite thing to do is just walk around. NYC is great for walking.
CBSNewYork: You like to people watch?
CQ: Oh yeah, it’s easier here. People normally notice you staring but they don’t notice in New York.
CBSNewYork: What do you think the Greeks would do if texting were around back then?
CQ: (laughing) Good question. It probably would have, lets face it, maybe they would have the siege of Troy a lot easier. Inside the Trojan horse, depending if it was AT&T. What kind of service do you need inside the Trojan?
CBSNewYork: Have you ever had anything weird happen on stage?
CQ: No. Not yet. I’ll have you to blame if something happens.
CBSNewYork: I apologize in advance.
Colin Quinn Long Story Short
Helen Hayes Theatre
240 W. 44th Street
New York, N.Y.
Mon: 8 p.m.
Tue: 7 p.m.
Wed – Fri: 8 p.m.
Sat: 2 p.m., 5 p.m., 8 p.m.